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Feature Article of Thursday, 20 September 2012

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama

Re-Gonja King Rejects Prez Mahama?

I have observed with extreme contempt and disgust the attitude of a son and royal of Gonjaland, Dr Braimah Clifford, the NPP Secretary for Northern Region.

Many people are aware he has been planting stories in newspapers portraying people from Gonjaland as divided over President John Mahama.

He petitioned the Gonjaland Youth Association to put a check on the "habit of the self-seeking members who were trying to drag the name of the association in the mud".

Dr. Clifford Braimah warned of deepening internal wrangling within the association if the leadership failed to act immediately. His statement stated: “This, when not tackled immediately, has the tendency to drag the whole association into a political minefield which will not benefit the association or Gonjaland in anyway.”

According to the petition, if this was allowed, it would smack of discrimination in the highest order in Gonjaland, where the association was proud to belong and have worked in diverse ways to promote, knowing its membership was made up of personalities belonging to different political persuasions.

According to Dr. Braimah, he would ensure that the association did not allow itself to be used in making statements that suggested everybody should support one political party.

“We need to be reminded that for now we have one of our own Dr. Abu Foster Sakara leading the CPP, whilst others such as my good self, are in the leadership of other political parties and if the association does not consider any Gonja as a super Gonja above the others, our humble appeal is, your office should remind all branches of the association to stay off the political arena,” he remarked.

To me Dr Braimah is only crying wolf when there is none. I am a staunch member of the Gonjaland Youth Association and so far as I am aware, there is no official statement and there has never been a statement from the National Gonjaland Youth Association nor any Gonjaland Youth Association Branch, supporting the candidature of President John Mahama or saying that the President John Mahama was a Gonja and must be supported to advance the cause of Gonjaland.

We could have individuals in the Gonjaland Youth Association clandestinely working for President Mahama but the whole association cannot be taken hostage for the activities of individuals.

Dr Braimah Clifford was given a sovereign guarantee scholarship by the NPP government to study abroad for his Doctorate degree because he worked for and was closer to the likes of Dan Botwe. I am also aware he has been promised the position of Northern Regional Minister should the NPP win the 2012 elections. Is he saying that other Gonjas should not also fight for what he got and what he has been promised?

It is also without no doubt, that Dr Braimah Clifford is behind the recent press release by the Yagbonwura's palace which to me is baseless and unnecessary.

Many Gonjas rather see Dr Braimah as a traitor to what they call the "Gonja agenda". They say he is being hypocritical to the course of Gonja. I have heard many Gonjas say if he thinks no one in Gonjaland or Gonja's should support their own son as the President of Ghana, then he is the most ungrateful son of Gonjaland. Dr Braimah became secretary of NPP in Northern Region largely because of the overwhelming support Gonjas extended to him. He is aware some of us who staunchly supported him on radio and through our writings because we believed he was the best and partly because we needed a Gonja in the Northern Region executive board had to bear the brunt of some powerful Northerners in the NPP who vowed to depose him.

Assuming the leadership of the Gonjaland Association had come out in support of Akufo -Addo would he have petitioned them? one Gonja angrily retorted. I have heard comments that Dr Clifford simply wants to polish his path within NPP by stabbing his own Gonja brother from the back for a Ministerial appointment. Many Gonjas believe they would want to have their own as President but not Minister.

I see the statement from the Yagbonwura Palace as unnecessary especially considering the twist the media has given to it. Indeed Dr. Abu Foster Sakara Presidential candidate of the CPP is also a Gonja from Bole. Why would the media not say he was also rejected by the King of Gonjas but single out President Mahama as the one rejected by the King of Gonjas?

The Yagbonwura would not reject President John Mahama and I believe all he told his aides was that he does not want to meddle into politics but rather keep the sanctity of the Gonja Skin. He cannot reject President John Mahama for anybody.

Dr Braimah Clifford should be wise. There are certain issues he should not bring out in public or he opens a can of worms. Was he not the same Clifford who campaigned in the Gonja constituencies that he was the only prominent Gonja man vying for an NPP executive position in the Northern Region and so should be voted? Was he not the same Clifford who campaigned in the Gonja constituencies that his friend and mentor Hon. Dan Botwe was Guan (a larger group Gonjas belong to) and so all Gonjas should vote for him as the Presidential candidate of NPP? Just as the Okyehene would want to see Nana Akufo-Addo as President, so would the Yagbonwura also like to see his sons John Mahama or Dr Abu Forster Sakara become President of Ghana and I can assure Dr Clifford the King of Gonjas very much supports President John Mahama and Dr Sakara.

Dr Braimah Clifford should remember Gonjas have a proverb that "If you do not want your friend to cut nine, you will not also cut ten". Already many Gonjas from the other parts of Gonjaland thinks he is issuing statements and dividing the front of Gonjas not because he is NPP but because he is from Kpempe, though I disagree with this opinion.

I rest my case.

By Mahama Haruna.

The writer is the Secretary of the Gonjaland Youth Association of the Bole Traditional Area Branch in Greater Accra.

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